Reformed Theology: God's Grace

JeffLogan's picture

This discussion will be limited to the discussion of God's grace as it pertains to Reformed Theology.

Barry writes,

I would like to suggest that we explore the topic of "God's Grace " as it relates specifically to the process of one's coming to salvation. I personally am particularly interested in the doctrine of "Prevenient Grace", however, at ElderDad's suggestion which points out our primary forum theme, addressing the RT position termed "Irresistible Grace" first is the more appropriate approach.

So, if this approach is acceptable, I would invite someone to begin this thread by first defining the term, then giving a brief re-cap of the history of "TULIP", and concluding with Scriptural references supporting the concept. That should get us rolling.

Barring objections, I would encourage someone in the Reformed camp to please begin.

Grace and peace to all.


Suggested Structure: (Best if viewing options set: Threaded Collapsed | Oldest First | 200/page |)

(The first 3 headings are reserved for Reformed Theology Adherents ONLY)

Defining the terms (No opposing views here)
     Irresistible Grace
     Prevenient Grace
Brief re-cap of the history of "TULIP" (No opposing views here)
     Early History
     Later History
     Unfolding History/Current Understanding
Scriptural references supporting the concept (No opposing views here)
     Irresistible Grace
     Prevenient Grace
1st Discussion: Irresistible Grace
2nd Discussion: Prevenient Grace
3rd Discussion: etc...

a quick thought on prevenient grace

I think it was Barry who asked if there was any Arminianish support for a doctrine of prevenient grace. While I can't speak for all or even most Arminianists, I will clarify this particular point as I understand it. To my mind, prevenient grace is a compromise doctrine, one which allows us to retain Total Depravity while giving Free Will some elbow room; it allows concerned theologians to argue that men can choose, though this choosing takes place through the mercy of God, in the form of prevenient grace.

If, as I do, one suspects that "Total" Depravity might be a bit extreme, it makes better sense to reexamine the Biblical position on human nature, rather than reshuffling our various categories of "grace." If men have a free will (coupled with a tendency towards rule-breaking), one might argue that the process of conversion involves an interaction between a free human agent and a free Divine Agent, rather than an interaction between God and Himself (in the form of "irresistible grace," in the sense that IG is really God acting upon a human being for God's own reasons); in this, human beings are less like corrupt and inert animals in need of reprogramming and more like spiritual beings in need of the Spiritual Being--many people WANT to be good, but find that they lack the means to be as "good" as they would like; there is something which pines for God or Truth in us despite our Fall. It is a different approach to salvation and grace, one in which I'm not sure there is a need for either "irresistible" or "prevenient" grace. But before I lay out a case for it using scripture, I thought I would offer the distinction, especially since the thread seems primarily concerned with the distinction between the two--mine seems to be a third, alternate position, and I'm reluctant to muddy of the waters of conversation with unnecessary clutter.